Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  John William Jakes  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT

Born: Chicago, Illinois


Illinois Connection

Born in Chicago in 1932, John Jakes began writing professionally during his freshman year at Northwestern University, where he was studying acting. He decided to trade the stage for the typewriter when, at age 18, he sold his first story for $25.

Biographical and Professional Information

After completing school, Jakes spent his days writing copy for a large pharmaceutical corporation, then several advertising agencies, including Dancer Fitzgerald Sample, one of the world's largest. At night he wrote and published short stories--eventually 200 of them, along with some 60 books in genres such as mystery, western, and science fiction.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library


-- Porgie Award, 1977, for best books in a series; Ohioana Book Award for fiction, 1978, for "American Bicentennial" series; Friends of the Rochester Library Literary Award, 1983; Owen Wister Award for lifetime contribution to Western literature, Western Writers of America, 2007.